1. Shop the “loss leaders” – Each week the grocery stores feature sale items (usually found on the front page of the sales flyer) which are considered loss leaders. This just means, the stores will sometimes lose money on these lead items, in hopes that you’ll spend money on other products in the store. Loss leaders are usually meats, produce and dairy. But beware, just because an item is in the sales flyer, doesn’t mean it’s a great price!
2. Use coupons w/ sales – Yes, coupons are great. But they’re CRAZY GREAT when you wait and pair those coupons with the product when it’s is on sale! That’s when you’ll get the deepest discount. You’ll find that most items go on sale in stores 2-3 weeks after you’ve clipped the coupon.
3. Buy the smallest size – The warehouse stores have trained us to think “bigger is better” and that buying in bulk will save us money. But when using a coupon, buying the smallest size available is always the best choice. This ensures you get the lowest cost per unit/ounce. And to help you determine the best value of items, always carry a calculator!
4. Meal planning – Shop in your pantry before you ever hit the stores. Oftentimes, I find a hodgepodge of items lurking in the dark recesses of my pantry. I’ll plug in those random items to Allrecipes.com and find recipes that incorporate whatever items I already have on hand. This helps me use up those items I’ve already paid for, before spending money on additional items. Secondly, I almost always determine my meal plan based on what’s on sale at the store that week. Those loss leader items usually end up on our dinner table!
5. Get a Chest Freezer – If you have an extra freezer, you can stock up on loss leaders, manager mark-downs and seasonal fruits and veggies. My freezer is almost always full of milk, bread, cheese, chicken, beef and seafood. You can also make double batches of meals and place one in the freezer. This saves you time and energy down the road.